Chinese researchers have discovered a fossil skull that could belong to a completely new species of man, which could potentially change the views of scientists on how our species evolved.
The scientific team claims that it is our closest evolutionary relative among the known species of ancient humans, such as Neanderthals and Homo erectus.
Researchers have reported that the fossilized skull, at least 146,000 years old, lay hidden in an abandoned well in China for a full 88 years, where it was left in 1933 by a worker who discovered it on a construction site during the Japanese occupation.
He hid at the bottom of the family well, and before he died he confided in his family, and so in the end the skull fell into the hands of scientists.
The researchers named the new species Homo longi, which was nicknamed “Dragon Man” in the area around the Long River (Dragon) in northeast China, where it was discovered, and its analysis was published in three papers in the journal “Innovation” .
One of Britain’s leading experts on human evolution, Professor Christopher Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London and co-author of two of the three works on the Dragon Man, was a member of this research team and he believes that one of the most important discovered so far.
“We have found our long-lost sister lineage,” says Zion Ni, a study co-author and paleoanthropologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Researchers claim that the skull belonged to Homo longia, a fairly tall adult. They claim he had straight cheeks and a wide mouth. The lower jaw is missing from the skull, but researchers, based on the upper jaw of the Dragon Man and other fossilized human skulls, conclude that he did not have a pronounced beard. They also say that his brain was about seven percent bigger than the brains of today’s people.
Scientists believe that the Dragon Man was of strong physical strength, but little is known about how he lived, because his skull was removed from the place where it was found, which means that there is currently no archaeological context, such as stone tools or other cultural elements. to which he belonged.
Many puzzles still remain unsolved from this phase of human history, especially in East Asia. Over the last few decades, paleoanthropologists have found numerous fossils, which have some characteristics that make them look like our species and other features that suggest that they belong elsewhere.
There is a fierce scientific debate as to whether these remains represent primitive examples of Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, a human group called the Denisovs, discovered in Denis’s Cave in Russia, or whether they are something else entirely.
Zion Ni believes that the discussions on this topic will continue and thinks that it is good because science is advancing precisely because scientists do not agree.